ABOUT

Ekathara Kalari is a non-profit organisation

promoting ancient Indian spiritual traditions,

with an emphasis on Baul arts and practice. 

It has been founded by

Parvathy Baul and Ravi Gopalan Nair.

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PARVATHY BAUL

 
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Parvathy Baul is a practitioner, performer and teacher of the Baul tradition from Bengal, India.

 

She is also an instrumentalist, storyteller and painter.

 

As the most recognised woman Baul performer in the world, she has performed in over forty countries, including such prestigious concert halls and music festivals as the Noh Theater in Kyoto, the World Music Center in New York City, Melbourne Arts Center, Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, and the Festival of World Sacred Music in Fez, Morocco.

She has worked continuously with Odin Teatret, Denmark, and world’s leading theatre director Eugenio Barba.

Parvathy Baul is also a well renowned visual artist who has exhibited her paintings and woodcuts all over the world


She visits several dance, theatre and music institutions across the globe in the capacity of a teacher.

Lineage

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Parvathy Baul’s performance work emerges from a long lineage of master Baul* singers, dancers, and spiritual teachers. She studied closely with two of the most respected Baul singer-gurus of the previous generation, Sri Sanatan Das Thakur Baul and Sri Shashanko Goshai.

She was recognized by her teachers as both a musical and spiritual teacher in the Baul tradition, carrying forward their spiritual legacy.

(*In 2005 the Baul tradition was included in the list of “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO.)

Awards

She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, conferred by the Union Government of India, in recognition of Parvathy Baul’s dedication to the Baul tradition. It is the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists.

This award was conferred in the year 2019 and Honorable President of India Sri Ramnath Kovind felicitated Smt Parvathy Baul.

Parvathy Baul

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Ekathara Kalari

Parvathy has co-founded Ekathara Kalari along with Sri Ravi Gopalan Nair.

 

As per her Guru Sri Sanatan Das Baul’s vision, through Ekathara Kalari she has established Sanatan Siddhashram, a traditional learning center for the Baul tradition in Birbhum district, West Bengal, India.

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RAVI GOPALAN NAIR

 
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Ravi Gopalan Nair was born in Nedumangad, Trivandrum to a large and interesting family. His father was the first person to bring black and white photography to their village, and Ravi began his journey in the photo studio.

As a youth, he met many interesting people from different fields – artists, activists, and they would all gather at his studio to engage various issues.

Theater

He experienced many local theatre forms that Kerala is so rich in in the course of his life, and engaged further when his elder brother Venuji sent him to Chengannur to observe the Padayani tradition.

His curious and dedicated nature exposed him to many learnings at the Louba Shield’s Kathakali school. It was also the place where he met the great traditional architect Shakuni Achari from whom he learned wood craft. In a quest to revive Pavakathakali, glove puppet theatre, he would visit small families who preserved remnants of this dying tradition. Venue’s survey had revealed only three such families.

 

Raviji learned to make glove puppets under a project co-created by Venuji and Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay.

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After Chengannur, Venuji sent him to Irinjalakuda, where he stayed for many years to know more about the local Kudiyattam theatre. There he met Walter Puff, who asked him to join his research project. He went on to France to join a project using Grotowski’s theatre technique.

Ravi returned to India with the support of Eberhart Fischer, the german Art Historian, and on a scholarship, traveled across Kerala to understand and promote folk theatre. It was during one of his sojourns that he met Pepita Seth, with whom he went on to work as a translator for a while.

Trainer & Coach

After he had returned to Trivandrum, he was well known as a trainer and coach, and his expertise was in treating every single person differently, with minimum interference so that individual bodies could find their optimum balance and growth and flourish accordingly. It was in this role that he met Mousumi Parial, whom he went on to marry, whence she took the name Parvathy Baul.

Parvathy Baul

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Together, they co-created many projects. He would carve the woodcuts that she would paint. He would enact glove puppet theatre which she would score with her music.

Raviji created 17 masks and a full set of puppets, most of which are now exhibited in the Ethnographic Museum of Geneva.

He took theatre art forms from Kerala and Baul to many international festivals. Raviji specialised in preparing artists for different stages and eventualities.

He ensured mental strength that would bring peace in a high-pressure International festival just as much as a local ritual setting without expectations of being treated as a different person because of a high profile.

Ekathara Kalari

In 1997, Raviji and Parvathyji cofounded Ekathara Kalari, and started exhibiting Baul in Trivandrum through the Baul festival from 2000. They traveled the interiors of Kerala with the art form and also took it to many festivals across the world.

Raviji’s present phase is a time of resting and he says that the next steps cannot be predicted. He intends to create more masks, emphasising that the process can only be successful when it is meaningful, and that it will manifest spontaneously. He now undertakes his practice at the Ekathara Kalari in Nedumangad, Trivandrum.

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Ravi Gopalan Nair

Ravi Gopalan Nair was born in Nedumangad, Trivandrum to a large and interesting family. His father was the first person to bring black and white photography to their village, and Ravi began his journey in the photo studio. As a youth, he met many interesting people from different fields – artists, activists, and they would all gather at his studio to engage various issues.

 

He experienced many local theatre forms that Kerala is so rich in in the course of his life, and engaged further when his elder brother Venuji sent him to Chengannur to observe the Padayani tradition. His curious and dedicated nature exposed him to many learnings at the Louba Shield’s Kathakali school. It was also the place where he met the great traditional architect Shakuni Achari from whom he learned wood craft. In a quest to revive Pavakathakali, glove puppet theatre, he would visit small families who preserved remnants of this dying tradition. Venue’s survey had revealed only three such families. Raviji learned to make glove puppets under a project co-created by Venuji and Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay.

After Chengannur, Venuji sent him to Irinjalakuda, where he stayed for many years to know more about the local Kudiyattam theatre. There he met Walter Puff, who asked him to join his research project. He went on to France to join a project using Grotowski’s theatre technique.

Ravi returned to India with the support of Eberhart Fischer, the german Art Historian, and on a scholarship, traveled across Kerala to understand and promote folk theatre. It was during one of his sojourns that he met Pepita Seth, with whom he went on to work as a translator for a while.

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Parvathy Baul